“I was tipped off that Sarah and Doug were two fantastically unique people when, at their engagement session, they brought a hand carved wooden sign that spelled out their names and they felt free to bust out some robot dance moves during our evening shoot. I was definitely excited to see what they had in store for their wedding…
Sarah and Doug started off the day with sweet notes and gifts for each other before we headed to the historic Yorba and Slaughter Families Adobe for their ceremony. This site had been passed down from generation to generation in Doug’s family and now would stand as a historic landmark in their own lives. Their reception was held at the Planes of Fame Air Museum which was perfect for Doug as an UTC Aerospace Systems engineer and a love for planes. Every part of Doug and Sarah’s wedding was thought out and had meaning. They hand built signs and decorations and made their wedding very unique to them, choosing their favorite BBQ place to cater and a pie bar instead of just serving cake. I was sure to request a few robot dance moves at the reception and they were happy to oblige.
They are a great team together, always encouraging each other to live full and be themselves. I am so happy for Doug and Sarah and wish them all the happiness together in their marriage.” – Wheeland Photography
What is your favorite wedding day memory?
The entire day was just incredible, from the excitement in the air that morning all the way through to dancing the night away with our friends and family. However, I think my favorite memory was the ceremony itself, which took place on the property where Doug’s great-great grandfather lived in the mid-1800s. Looking back, I still can’t believe I got to marry my best friend under a giant tree, overlooking a beautiful valley, on the very grounds that had hosted his family’s celebrations for hundreds of years. It was truly a once in a lifetime moment.
And a bit about our reception venue choice: We weren’t really sure what type of venue we wanted (cool loft with exposed brick? Outdoor space near a vineyard?), but our only non-negotiable was the ability to customize every detail and choose all our own vendors, especially since my mother-in-law is a wedding florist. When we stumbled upon the Planes of Fame Air Museum, everything just started falling into place. Doug works as a materials engineer in the aerospace industry, and has always loved aircraft—particularly the WWII aircraft for which the museum is famous. I saw it as a blank canvas—a unique venue with lots of potential—and loved that we could bring in Doug’s home-brewed beer and my favorite food (mac and cheese).
What did you DIY for your wedding?
What didn’t I DIY for the wedding? We knew from the start that we wanted to incorporate as many DIY and personal details as possible, not only to stay on budget, but also because I’ve never met a craft project I didn’t like, and I am a sucker for personal details. Some of the specific projects included:
- I created a custom logo and ordered a rubber stamp version as well. It appeared on everything from our wedding website, to the invitations, place settings, and favors. It was a great way to customize the look of our wedding with very little cost.
- I also designed our invitation suite. I had seen some #10 policy envelopes prior to getting engaged and just couldn’t get them out of my head, so I started with that size and shape. I printed the bulk of the invitation elements in black and white on cardstock to save money. However, I knew I wanted to include a photo, so I ordered 3×4 prints of an engagement photo and attached them to the invite with adhesive photo corners. I also used a colored ink pad in our wedding color to stamp our custom logo on all the invitation pieces.
- As well, I designed the escort cards myself. Somewhere along the way, I decided I wanted to use manila shipping tags for the escort cards, but the challenge was figuring out how to print on manila shipping tags without jamming our printer. In the end, I printed the tables on clear shipping labels, and used a hole punch to indicate the individual’s table assignment.
- Doug designed and built the bar for cocktail hour with his dad similar to this. It was simple—just stained wood and corrugated metal—but it fit the whole tone of the space perfectly, and made a great piece to serve up his tasty homemade brews.
- My dad and I cut, built, and stained 22 wooden boxes for the table centerpieces.
- The table numbers, which were Ikea frames with the corners spray-painted gold from this tutorial
- I knew our set-up was going to be demanding with such a big space and limited time. So, to streamline the table-setting process, I made a “place setting in a bag” for each person. It was simple—just a glassine bag with a napkin, silverware, and salt & pepper, wrapped with teal ribbon, and sealed with our custom logo on the front. It not only made our disposable tableware feel special, it greatly simplified the process of setting up the tables.
- Our wedding favors were 4oz bottles of Doug’s famous Carolina Style BBQ sauce. It was a big undertaking to make six gallons of BBQ sauce from scratch and put it into 160 bottles, but Doug insisted that we try it. And I have to say, he was right—we have gotten so many compliments on how tasty the sauce was. The bottles also featured our custom logo on top, with some teal bakers twine to tie in with the color scheme.
- Doug is an avid home-brewer, and made three different batches of beer for the wedding—a stout, a honey wheat, and a hard cider. I designed custom labels for each of the batches, and laser printed them on weather-proof shipping labels so the designs wouldn’t bleed when the bottles were put on ice.
- The illuminated “D&S” in front of the head table, as well as the lighting installation behind it were made by my dad and I. I knew we needed to bring in some larger-scale pieces to fill the space of the room, and thanks to engineering-sized prints (for templates), some creativity, and bridesmaids who expertly folded 50+ paper airplanes, these two DIYs did the trick.
- Various types of signage, including nail + string art, vinyl lettering on copper, and paper menus posted on mini cork boards for the buffet and bar.
- The cake table backdrop was just strips of turquoise crepe paper purchased from Paper Mart stapled to a piece of wood. The wood sat on top of a museum display case behind the cake table, artfully hiding the WWII helmets and photos in the display, and creating an easy, colorful backdrop for our cake-cutting photos.
- Dodecahedron sculptures/centerpieces for the cocktail tables inspired by this tutorial. However, instead of using metal tubing, I used wire, mini straws, and a whole lot of gold spray paint. My family thought I was nuts, but it worked out just as I had hoped. For under $20 I made eight of these beauties.
- I crafted my veil, sash, and garter. For the groom, I DIY’d these cufflinks from ST!
It would have been simpler to buy these items, but none of them were too difficult and you can never go wrong with a personal touch! Plus, I saved a ton of money!
Any advice for brides currently in the planning process?
Prioritize early and often! Creating our wedding for 160+ guests on our $20,000 budget was only possible by constantly evaluating and re-evaluating our top priorities along the way. For example, when we started I had my heart set on renting bentwood or chivari chairs for the reception. However, once we added the cost of a separate ceremony location, and priced out the food, linens, etc., I decided that the more expensive chairs were no longer a top priority. I could get a similar look and feel for less, and put the money toward food and alcohol instead—which is what makes a great party anyway! When it came to all the DIY projects, I did a ton of research to price out the supplies and made every decision based on cost. This is how I settled on using turquoise satin-finish ribbon instead of the teal and white twill ribbon I originally envisioned, as well as the mini straws and gold spray paint instead of actual metal tubing for the cocktail table centerpieces. – Sarah, the bride
Photographer: Wheeland Photography // Ceremony Venue: Yorba-Slaughter Adobe // Reception Venue: Planes of Fame Air Museum // Day Of Coordinator: In Focus Events // Florist: English Rose Floral Design // Catering: Dickey's Barbecue Pit // Cake: Some Crust Bakery // DJ: Allen Ward with A-Dub Music // Videographer: Lisa Hadley Studios // Transportation: Cedillo Limo // Tables + Chairs: Create A Party Rentals // Linens: Chair Covers and Linens // Lighting: Impulse Lighting & Events // Dress: David's Bridal // Earrings: Bling Jewelry // Necklace: McCarty's Jewelry // Shoes: Payless // Bridesmaids Attire: their choice // Makeup: Michelle Preciado // Men's Attire: BLACK by Vera Wang // Bow Ties: Tie Bar // Bottles For Favors: Specialty Bottle // Custom Logo Stamp: Simon Stamp // Seafoam Guest Book: Amazon // Invitations, Decor, and all details mentioned above: DIY-ed by the creative bride!